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RealTime Economic Issues Watch

In RealTime posts, PIIE senior staff and colleagues discuss the fast-moving economic news, financial developments, and public policy choices confronting the United States and the world.

Recent Posts

Turbulent Outlook for Greece

by , Simeon Djankov and Angel Ubide | June 30th, 2015 | 03:29 pm

The escalating confrontation between Greece and its international creditors has further devastated Greece’s economic outlook, according to three PIIE experts. Jacob Funk Kirkegaard says that voter rejection of creditor demands in a referendum on July 5 will be disastrous, but even a voter approval will not necessarily reopen banks right away. Simeon Djankov says a […]

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What Does the Tsipras Referendum Bode for Greece’s Neighbors?

by | June 30th, 2015 | 01:17 pm

Much will be written on the likely deleterious effects of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s surprise call for a referendum of the Greek rescue package. Former prime minister Georgios Papandreou attempted a similar step in November 2011, leading to the resignation of his government a few days later. Fortunately, the actual step of holding a referendum […]

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The Simple Solution for Greece that Europe Won’t Try

by | June 30th, 2015 | 11:31 am

In an interview with Ezra Klein of Vox, Adam S. Posen argues that the euro area lacks the fiscal transfer mechanism that exists in the United States enabling poor countries that get into financial trouble to be aided by wealthier countries that are part of the currency union. A breakdown in trust has changed the […]

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Greece Turns from Drama to Tragedy

by | June 29th, 2015 | 05:05 pm

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s surprise call last week for a referendum on the austerity proposals by its international creditors, followed by the shuttering of Greece’s banks and stock exchange on June 29, opens a dangerous new chapter of its crisis. It could also spell the end of Tsipras’s political leadership. The prime minister’s moves have […]

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President Dilma Rousseff Comes to Town

by | June 25th, 2015 | 11:00 am

President Dilma Rousseff’s visit to Washington next week will mark an important turning point in Brazil-US relations. Or will it? After floundering for several years, it is hard to imagine that the currently lukewarm—and at times decidedly distant—relationship between the two largest economies in the Americas will change much on June 30. However, the visit […]

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Greece: Better Than Expected, But Still Not Good News

by | June 22nd, 2015 | 05:37 pm

The meeting of the Eurogroup of finance ministers on June 22 marked the first time after five months in office that the Greek government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras proposed reforms that the Eurogroup considered credible enough to even begin to discuss. This alone is a welcome if incomprehensibly long overdue development. But many challenges […]

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Greece’s Fate: High Noon in Brussels

by | June 19th, 2015 | 05:11 pm

The emergency Euro Summit in Brussels planned for June 22 to discuss the situation in Greece will decide whether Greece will continue in its current reform program imposed by its creditors or enter into a default against them. What will not be decided is whether Greece remains a member of the euro area. Despite all […]

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EU Tax Haven Blacklist Is Discriminatory

by | June 19th, 2015 | 01:14 pm

Earlier this month, the EU Commission published a list of 30 small countries that it describes as noncooperative jurisdictions on tax matters. The list is designed to tar-and-feather these countries, reduce their access to international development funds, and so pressure them into abandoning their international financial centers. It is an act of gross discriminatory bullying […]

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Mischaracterizing and Exaggerating Fossil Fuel Subsidies

by | June 16th, 2015 | 09:05 am

Subsidies are rampant in today’s world economy, and they generally do more harm than good. Governments usually fail when they try to pick industrial winners, while subsidies to support industrial losers are hard to phase out. International disciplines contained in the World Trade Organization are weak and seldom enforced. For all these reasons, it’s good […]

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Greece: The Confrontational End-Game Is Here

by | June 12th, 2015 | 05:21 pm

Now that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has alienated the European Commission, which is his government’s only potential ally in the creditor group known as the Troika—European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB), and International Monetary Fund (IMF)—no credible bridge-builders are left to save Athens from itself. Further confrontation and escalation seem most likely (60 percent). […]

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